Soaring capital flows, a debt-based consumer culture and unbalanced trade between countries all contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The question now is whether governments follow a 'business as usual' model based on self-interest and inequality, or one that promotes equitable development based on moral and social principles.
People who know the most about the world financial system are increasingly worried, and for very good reasons. Dire warnings are coming from the most "respectable" sources. Reality has gotten out of hand. The demons of greed are loose.
Do countries have a choice in their economic systems? In the past, countries could choose between capitalism and communism, but today the choice is smaller if we are to take the failure of socialist states at face value.
While it's hard to see it here in the U.S., "trickle-down" economics is beginning to be confronted by popular democratic movements, which are bubbling up in communities across the country as well as all over the world in countries like Ghana and Bolivia, where fierce resistance to the privatization of water not only pushed big water multinationals like Bechtel out of the country , but led the government of Bolivia to begin pushing the world's international financial institutions to exempt water from trade liberalization (i.e. corporate predation) agreements and bolster effots to reverse now widely-discredited structural adjustment programs that have forced debtor nations to privatize essential services like water in exchange for usurious loan packages.
Markets are often the best forecasters since their direction supposedly represents the collective wisdom of the smartest people moving them - the professionals, not the public that just goes along for the ride where they're taken.
The last two years marked a vigorous economic recovery for Latin America following the long period of stagnation that began in 1998. However, a number of vulnerabilities remain despite the recent strong growth performance.